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Gov. Brown says some counties will require face coverings in public amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Governor Kate Brown announced Oregon's next steps on Wednesday after a spike in coronavirus cases caused state officials to pump the brakes on reopening.

Posted: Jun 17, 2020 3:07 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2020 3:20 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Wednesday that Oregon's next steps will include a requirement to wear face coverings in public for some counties following a spike in coronavirus cases over the past several weeks.

Brown and officials from the Oregon Health Authority issued a "yellow light" last Friday for several counties that were on the brink of entering a new phase of reopening. The Governor's Wednesday statement indicated that the new plans would include a resolution for some of those counties.

“I instituted the statewide pause because of the rising number of cases in both rural and urban communities," Brown said. "I did this to give public health experts time to assess what factors are driving the spread of the virus and make adjustments to our reopening strategy."

The Oregon Health Authority has spent the intervening days looking at data from around the state, including the source of growth in new cases and hospitalizations, the results of contact tracing, and other metrics. Brown said that she had also been consulting with health experts, business leaders, and local elected officials.

Starting June 24 — the same day that the Oregon legislature returns for a special session — Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln counties will require face coverings for people while at indoor public spaces. This includes grocery stores and other businesses.


RELATED: Oregon Supreme Court sides with Gov. Brown on COVID-19 restrictions


Multnomah County will be finally be approved to move into Phase I this Friday.

"While Multnomah County has seen an increase in new cases recently, the county has not experienced an uptrend in new hospital admissions, and overall hospitalizations remain well within capacity," Brown said.

According to Brown's statement, some counties will be grouped together as regional units for future reopening decisions. Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties — which encompass the Portland metro area — will be one such unit. Marion and Polk counties will also be treated as a unit, which includes the city of Salem.

"Both of these regions include a highly-connected urban area, making it difficult to monitor the disease based solely on the contours of county jurisdictional lines," Brown said. 

The entire tri-county region will remain in Phase 1 for at least 21 days after June 19 before the three counties together will become eligible for Phase 2, Brown continued.


RELATED: Oregon's Union County recommends residents return to Phase I following outbreak


"I know this impacts communities and businesses in Clackamas and Washington counties but, as we reopen our state, we must recognize how interconnected the metro area is," Brown said. “The next few weeks will be difficult, and we will be monitoring the data regularly. We are much better prepared than we were in early March. We have increased PPE, much more widespread testing, and many more contact tracers

“However, if hospitalizations spike too rapidly, if the capacity of our health care system is threatened, we will be forced to revert to stricter rules.

“Our entire ability to reopen and stay open is dependent on whether each of us follows basic health and safety protections. Stay home if you feel sick, wear a face covering, keep six feet of distance, avoid crowds, and wash your hands regularly. We truly are all in this together.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 361240

Reported Deaths: 4318
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah56287712
Washington39109325
Marion37168457
Clackamas30096309
Lane28087306
Jackson23248310
Deschutes20680125
Umatilla14567151
Linn13113132
Douglas12237251
Josephine9451198
Yamhill8820114
Klamath8146122
Polk746481
Malheur568578
Benton559831
Coos510295
Columbia388144
Jefferson381254
Lincoln324139
Union321550
Crook296346
Wasco291941
Clatsop244828
Baker204529
Tillamook198033
Hood River195837
Morrow186623
Curry182725
Harney114727
Grant100213
Lake96012
Wallowa69312
Gilliam1594
Sherman1573
Wheeler1091
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4854041

Reported Deaths: 71417
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148510526549
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3678574183
San Bernardino3586775720
Orange3251235578
Sacramento1596362313
Kern1472941652
Fresno1463182094
Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921415
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
El Dorado17207149
Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
Humboldt9269109
Nevada916790
Mendocino766787
Lassen758747
San Benito744972
Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
Amador547364
Siskiyou451246
Glenn438433
Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
Colusa307618
Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
Mariposa133916
Trinity88011
Modoc6895
Sierra1880
Unassigned1460
Alpine1050
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